I recently bought a new drive (specifically, a 2TB Samsung Spinpoint) that says on the label that it supports advanced format, and that I should download the tool from their site.

Unless I'm missing something, mkntfs has always had its maximum sector size at 4096b:

-s, --sector-size BYTES

Specify the size of sectors in bytes. Valid sector size values are 256, 512, 1024, 2048 and 4096 bytes per sector. If omitted, mkntfs attempts to determine the sector-size automatically and if that fails a default of 512 bytes per sector is used.

Will this tool on Samsung's site do anything other than format the drive in the same way doing

mkntfs -s 4K /dev/sdb1

would do?

To be specific, I'm intending to use this drive on a machine that will primarily run Windows XP, but I'd rather boot into Linux/BSD and format the disk manually than have bloated software. I do want to have the new AF style sectors though -- that's essential.

So if I did the command above (or another command available on Linux/BSD), would it have exactly the same effect as using the advanced format tool?


Yes, you can do it on linux, but it must be done when creating the partition, not when creating the filesystem. Eg you must do it with fdisk, not with mkfs. Here are a few links explaining it:

  • Thank you very much! I am out of votes for today, but will upvote it at midnight tonight. This is exactly what I was looking for :) Dec 22 '10 at 20:16
  • Unmarked just briefly -- it seems that these links only cover how to create extX partitions that are aligned, I'm wanting to create an NTFS partition (just noticing that 83 is a Linux partition type). Any ideas? Dec 22 '10 at 20:21
  • Wait, is it correct that doing fdisk -H 224 -S 56 /dev/sda and then using mkntfs would do it? Dec 22 '10 at 20:29
  • Yes, it doesn't matter how you format it (ext, ntfs, fat, etc), all that matters is that the partition itself was created on a 4KB boundary. Sector size is something else, and 4KB should probably be the minimum sector size, but bigger might be better for performance reasons -- You'd have to do more research, I'd probably just use whatever the defaults are.
    – davr
    Dec 23 '10 at 2:08

The important part is that your partitions are created aligned on a 4 KB boundary, not the sector size of the formatted partition. By default, Windows XP doesn't create partitions with that kind of alignment, and the drives have to do a read-modify-write operation across 2 sectors internally for every write operation.

A vendor's tool will make sure that your partitions are aligned, and modify them to be if they aren't already. Windows Vista and 7 will create properly aligned partitions. I'm not sure about how Linux/BSD tools behave, but I imagine recent tools will work correctly.

  • Thanks for the info, although I'd still like to know if there are Linux/BSD tools that will do that :) Dec 22 '10 at 17:43

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